1699 Weekend of Discovery: Celebrating Our Heritage

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Ocean Springs – In 1971, a group of dedicated citizens formed the 1699 Historical Society in order to preserve and celebrate the unique culture and history of Ocean Springs and the surrounding Gulf Coast.

Every spring, the Society stages a dramatic reenactment as the showcase of its annual “Weekend of Discovery.” The event brings to life the April 1699 story of Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d’Iberville and his armada of ships sailing into Biloxi Bay. Commissioned by King Louis XIV to explore the shores of the upper Gulf of Mexico, he and his expedition crew first discovered Ship Island before stumbling upon a high, defendable bluff, known today as Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Stopher Haug, chairman of the event this year, believes it’s important to help the public realize the significance of the landing. “I think that the culture and the heritage and influence that the d’Iberville landing had on the Gulf South in 1699 is essentially equivalent to the Jamestown landing in the Northeast back in 1603,” said Stopher. “So we’ve worked hard to try to get that message out and bring the history to life.”

The weekend kicks off Friday night with the Mary C. House Party featuring the Mardi Gras Indian Collective from New Orleans. Admission to the event is free, but donation opportunities abound with a full bar, art auction, and a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament. Festivities resume Saturday morning and include a 5K race, kids fun-run, paddleboard races, pet parade, a regatta at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club and will wrap up with the 1699 d’Iberville reenactment. Haug says he hopes everyone goes back home having had a great time at the event, but also with a greater knowledge and appreciation for the significance of the 1699 landing. “One thing that we would like folks to be aware of is that we’ve partnered with the Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw, who descend from original native Americans that were here in 1699. We’ve been working with them to try and bring more authenticity and historical accuracy to the reenactment this year and to recognize their culture and contributions as well.”

Everyone is invited to join in this exciting time and become a part of this commemorative celebration!

Learn more by visiting www.1699landing.com

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Keynote Speaker Announced for Explosion of Excellence

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This year’s 28th Annual Explosion of Excellence will be held in May at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus.  This year’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Kimberly Cox Rasmussen.  This scholarship program honors the academic achievements of the graduating high school seniors who are in the top ten percent of their classes in all area high schools in Jackson County (including the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science).

Dr. Rasmussen is the Grants Bureau Director at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and has previously worked at The University of Southern Mississippi, The Bacot McCarty Foundation and the Office of Personnel Management, Federal Investigative Services Division.  Dr. Rasmussen holds a Bachelors in International Studies and a Masters in Criminal Justice, both from The University of Southern Mississippi.  She has also attended the Goethe Institut and Viennese Center for Middle Eastern Studies, both for German language study.  She holds a doctorate in International Law/Criminal Justice from the University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria), where she focused her dissertation on substance abuse treatment among the incarcerated population.



Dr. Rasmussen is active in her community where she serves on numerous boards and participates in many volunteer organizations.  She serves as President of the Junior Auxiliary of Gulfport, Chair of the Gulf Coast Centurions Association and is a member of the Salute to the Military Dinner Planning Committee.  She is a graduate of Leadership Jackson County and previously served as a Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.  In addition to her professional and civic responsibilities, Dr. Rasmussen enjoys singing the National Anthem at various community events.  Dr. Rasmussen is a 2000 graduate of Gautier High School and a former Explosion of Excellence scholarship recipient.  She currently resides in Gautier with her husband, Ric, and their two daughters, Julep and Iris.

The Explosion of Excellence is a program jointly sponsored by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and all high schools in Jackson County.  It is a fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  The Chairman of this year’s Explosion of Excellence is Pat Descher of the McDonald’s Descher Organization, and the Co-Chairman is Dr. Bill Descher.

The public is encouraged to consider a $250, $1,000 or $5,000 scholarship.  These scholarships are donated by the public to encourage these students to consider employment in Jackson County when their education is finished.  The scholarships can be made in memory or in honor of someone, in the name of a company or individual or left anonymous.  The public can help honor these students by writing a check to the “Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Explosion of Excellence” and mailing it to “Explosion of Excellence, Post Office Box 480, Pascagoula, MS  39568-0480.”

To answer any questions, please call the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce at 228-762-3391 or email Valerie Dedeaux, Administrative Assistant, at Chamber@jcchamber.com.

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Take a Boat Ride During Gautier’s Earth Day Event Saturday

The City of Gautier will host its annual Earth Day Celebration this Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at George Martin City Park.

Eco-Tours of South Mississippi will be providing free boat rides on the Pascagoula River during the City of Gautier Earth Day event at George Martin City Park on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During the event, Captain Kathy Wilkinson, owner of Eco-Tours of South Mississippi, will offer free 30-minute rides up the Mary Walker Bayou. They have been part of the event since opening Eco-Tours in 2006. The boat rides are popular during the Earth Day event and give families that may not have the opportunity to get out on the water a chance to do so.

“We do not charge for the event as it is our way of giving a little something back to our community,” Wilkinson said. “We enjoy the opportunity to take locals out, as most of our guests on our tours are from out-of-town.”

The tours during the event are shortened versions of the tours Wilkinson regularly gives. According to Wilkinson, they tell guests about the flora and fauna they see, the ecosystems, local history and culture, wetlands and conservation, and stewardship and volunteerism while enjoying the views along the way.

“While it is educational, it is also fun, and we see some pretty cool things out on the river,” she said. “We started the business because we are passionate about the river and thought people might be interested in learning about the Pascagoula River. We have taken out visitors from all over the world, in addition to locals.”

For more information, you can visit www.ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com or visit the Eco-Tours of South Mississippi Facebook page.



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Spring Migration in Full Swing Along the Coast

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Have you noticed an influx of bright blue birds at your bird feeders over the last week? Is your seed disappearing at a faster rate than usual? Does a chorus of bird song wake you early in the morning?

Spring migration is upon us, and birds such as the Indigo Bunting, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, and a wide variety of vividly-colored warblers are arriving from their winter homes in the tropical regions of Central and South America. Most of them will stay a few days to refuel after traveling across the Gulf; consuming seeds, fruit, insects, and anything that they can find before continuing north to their summer breeding territories in the northern United States and Canada.


This year has had weather conditions conducive to a “fall out” where exhausted and hungry migrating birds hit bad weather and drop onto the nearest land that they encounter, frequently barrier islands or coastal shorelines. If you see tiny songbirds resting on the sand or boardwalks, you can guess that they just finished a long distance flight across the Gulf and are simply too tired to move.

Over the next few weeks, birds will continue arrive with southern winds, heading to all points north. The Pascagoula River Basin is home to more than 320 species of birds during the year, many of whom only visit for a few critical weeks during their spring and fall long distance journeys.

Our resident birds, birds that spend the year along the Gulf, are already well into their breeding season. You may see osprey and eagles carrying nest material or food, fuzzy Great Horned Owl chicks practicing their first flights, or have a brood of Eastern Bluebirds or Carolina Wrens chirping inside a bird box.

To attract and enjoy more backyard birds, there are a few simple things that you can do.

  1. Create a feeding station with seed feeders that contain black oil seed (sunflower or safflower seed) and thistle or niger seed
  2. Scatter mixed seed (with millet and other seeds) on the ground beneath feeders
  3. Add hummingbird feeders with sugar water (4 parts water, 1 part sugar, no food coloring added)
  4. Give them a shallow bird bath for water and for them to clean their feathers after their long flights
  5. Plant native flowers, shrubs, trees, and vines that provide both food and shelter
  6. Reduce the potential for collision with your windows by adding bird tape, streamers, or partially closing blinds to break up the impression of open space to birds in flight
  7. Keep cats indoors or (at  a minimum) add bells to their collars
  8. Add a nest box with a predator guard installed to help cavity nesting birds
  9. Enjoy watching your colorful feathered visitors and appreciate your ability to observe one of nature’s most fascinating phenomena – spring migration!
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March of Dimes to Hold Biggest Annual Fundraiser

Thousands of families and local business leaders will join together on April 21, 2018 at Point Cadet in Biloxi for March for Babies, which bands communities together to fight for the health of all moms and babies.

This year’s South Mississippi Ambassador Family is the Broome Family. In 2017, Muffy and Robby were starting their family. But their baby Asher arrived at 35 weeks, weighing less than 5 pounds. He suffered from sepsis and had brain damage and spent his first weeks fighting for life in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Today, the Broome family is dedicated to fighting for the health of all moms and babies and believes that every baby deserves the best possible start.

Tyler Sexton, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics at Singing River Hospital, serves as the South Mississippi March for Babies chair. He was a premature infant born with cerebral palsy and is a champion for babies born with complications and the critically important work of the March of Dimes in treating them. Recently featured on ABC News 20/20, Dr. Sexton was one of a handful of physicians across the country who inspired the hit television series “The Good Doctor.”

On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the 3-mile walk kicking off shortly after. You can sign up today at http://www.marchforbabies.org/event/southmississippi. Start a team with your company, family or friends. You can also donate directly because every baby deserves the best possible start.

“When you March for Babies, you make a statement about the world you want to live in-one in which healthy moms and strong babies are a priority for us all,” says Bridget Turan, Development Manager March of Dimes. “It is a day for everyone. Together we hope for the day when all moms and babies are healthy. We remember those babies we lost. We celebrate every baby.”


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Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributor to infant death in the U.S. and pregnancy-related death has more than doubled over the past 25 years. From advocacy to education to research, we’re working to level the playing field so that all moms and babies are healthy.

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. Visit marchofdimes.orq or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on lnstagram and Twitter.


The 2018 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by Kmart, Famous Footwear, Macy’s, HCA, Cigna, Pampers and regional sponsor Publix Super Markets, Inc. In our community, March for Babies is sponsored by Singing River Health System, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Keesler Federal Credit Union, IP Casino Resort Spa, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Garden Park, Chemours, Merit Health Biloxi, Raising Canes Chicken Fingers, BancorpSouth, Allstate Insurance, Mississippi Power, WLOX, Gulf Coast Woman Magazine, and Venture South Magazine.

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Know Your 19: Featuring the agencies of United Way for Jackson & George Counties

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“Our Lives Begin to End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rape is a violent crime in which the rapist expresses power, anger, rage, and aggression. Nearly one in five women has been raped, and still more have endured other forms of sexual violence or abuse. Often, crimes of sexual assault have tremendous effect on young people; women between the ages of 16 and 24 are at greatest risk of rape and sexual assault, and many victims, male and female, first experience abuse during childhood (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, nsvrc.org).

Without treatment, sexual assault victims may suffer prolonged psychological effects and continue to experience problems that include fear and phobic anxiety years after the assault. Some victims may be diagnosed with Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (RR-PTSD). According to the National Women’s Study, nearly one-third of all rape victims develop RR-PTSD sometime during their lifetimes (National Center for Victims of Crime, ncvc.org). PTSD is a mental health disorder primarily characterized by chronic anxiety, depression, and flashbacks which develop after experiencing significant trauma such as combat, natural disaster, or violent crime victimization.

Immediate contact with sexual assault victims is imperative for their psychological recovery. Center staff or trained volunteers provide 24/7 emergency crisis response to victims at local hospitals through established protocols. Hospital emergency room staffs have been provided with training and have sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) on staff. This greatly increases the ability of a hospital to meet the needs of the sexual assault victim, and emergency rooms notify the Center as soon as a victim of sexual assault is admitted.

Counseling is also extremely important for the victims of sexual assault. Studies indicate that victims who do not receive counseling within six months following their assault may never recover. Additionally, victims who receive assistance and support are more likely to report their sexual assault and to follow through with the criminal justice process.

Sexual assault exemplifies one of the most personal forms of violence that a person can experience. Therefore, the Center works to meet the immediate and long-lasting needs of adults and children who have experienced sexual violence. Funding from the United Way of Jackson & George Counties allows the Center to continue providing the comprehensive array of specialized services and enhanced victims’ rights to adult and child victims of sexual assault in Jackson and George counties.

The Center’s Rape Crisis Program provides crisis response to victims of sexual assault 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. These services are available for men, women, and children.

Sexual assault advocates are available to assist victims undergoing examination or treatment in local area hospitals. Our advocates may stay with victims to help them through the examination process, offer support, and provide information on follow-up counseling and services.

We offer confidential, nonjudgmental, emotional support and services to victims of rape, whether it happened ten minutes or ten years ago. Services include:

  • 24-hour Emergency Response
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training
  • Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART)
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Free Civil Legal Services
  • Court Advocacy & Accompaniment
  • Information/Referral

If you’d like more information on the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence’s Rape Crisis Program or are in need of services, please call us at 228-435-1968.

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East Central Men’s Club Works to Give Back to Community

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The East Central Men’s Club was formed in 2012 by a group of approximately 15 men in the East Central area of Jackson County as a way to bring local men together to improve the community through service and financial contributions. Since its inception, the ECMC has given back more than $50,000 to the community.

According to Eddie Anderson, current president of the club, one of the charter members, Lamar Gordon, had received help from the community during a time of need, and he wanted to use the club to return the favor.


“Our main purpose in this club is to give back all of the funds that we raise to those in need and the children of our community,” Anderson said.

The club’s primary fundraising events include a drawdown in March and a golf tournament in September.

“These have become popular events in our community that help to raise much-needed funds and to provide a great time for all the participants,” Anderson said. “Our fundraising goes far and wide in our community.”

Through this fundraising, the club is able to provide four scholarships to graduates from East Central High School each year as well as adopt up to five families during the holidays to shop and buy gifts for. Anderson said they also provide financial assistance on a monthly and emergency basis to those who may have a loss in the family or an illness.

Club members also provide service at a variety of annual events including cooking for the Sheriff’s Rodeo in Vancleave in May, cooking for the Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner, and hosting a Veteran’s Day recognition dinner in November, which Anderson said has grown into a “great tribute to our local veterans.” The group also provides physical labor for those in need.

“We are constantly in touch with the needs of the community,” he said.

The East Central Men’s Club currently has 20 active members and meets once a month to discuss opportunities. They occasionally have speakers as well.

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Under the Sea Super Saturday Set This Weekend

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The Pascagoula-Gautier School District will host its Under the Sea Super Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center. The event is open free to the public, rain or shine. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Featured exhibitors will be the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, USM Marine Education Center, Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, Mississippi Coast Fly Fisher, The Nature Conservancy, Pascagoula Recreation Center, Girl Scouts and Excel by 5.

All of the themed rooms will be open for play including Wetland Animals, Pirate Ship, Main Street, Toddler Town, block room, virtual reality, flight simulator room, planetarium, iMac lab, miniature golf and the playground.

The center is located at 1415 Skip St., Pascagoula. For more information, call Kelli McCorkle, at 228-938-6418.

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FABLAB Summer Camp Dates Are Set!

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A FABLAB consists of a suite of digital fabrication and rapid prototyping machines, including a large computer numerical control (CNC) router (the ShopBot), a vinyl cutter, a laser engraver, an electronics work bench, a 3D printer, and the accompanying computers and software for design, programming, and machine communications. This equipment allows students to use computer-aided design to make almost anything they can imagine.

The FABLAB Jackson County in Vancleave will be putting on events throughout the summer for kids of all ages. Please check out the flyer to see what they’ve got coming up.

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Singing River Health System Congratulates Keesler Medical Center on USAF Hospital of the Year Award

Singing River Health System leadership group salutes Keesler Medical Center for their USAF Hospital of the Year Award.

Ocean Springs, MS –   With a keen appreciation for their dedication and skill, caregivers at Singing River Health System are sending kudos to their neighbors and colleagues at Keesler Medical Center for their recent award as Hospital of the Year for the US Air Force.

 “We commend our colleagues at Keesler for this outstanding achievement and are proud to partner with them on a number of clinical initiatives,” said Chief Operating Officer Lee Bond. “We work hand in hand with the Keesler Team to deliver care to area veterans, and have recruited a number of outstanding clinicians to join our team after completing their Air Force service at Keesler Medical Center.”

Physicians and staff at Singing River have posted a banner at their hospitals recognizing Keesler’s award. “We’ve known for a long time that Keesler shares our commitment to the highest quality care, and are thrilled for them to be recognized as this year’s top USAF Hospital,” said Bond.

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